Pembrokeshire – the advice of stones

img_0410I’m at my family home in Wales, sitting in bed drinking Whiskey Mac and contemplating the day. I have a strange relationship with this place, it was my dream home as a kid. I was brought up in London and the whole time we were about to move to Wales, it was where we belonged somehow. Every year we would visit and dream of our new home, our new life, walk round houses that were for sale and plan how mum would decorate them. It was all a dream. Then I turned 18 and went to university and finally the family moved here. All of them, my mum, Dad, brother, two sisters and nine nieces and nephews all live here now, I’m the only one that still lives in London.

Every now and then I think of moving here as well, but there is something about this place that makes me depressed and quite ill. Is it Pembrokeshire itself or just the family home? I have no idea what it is, this feeling that I don’t want to exist any more. That is how I was feeling today. Bad chemicals.

It is incredibly beautiful here in Pembrokeshire. We are by the sea, in a small village with a beautiful wood. The wood and the sea make me feel at home, but the house makes me feel alone. Desperately alone no matter who i’m With.

I walked through the woods to the sea today as i do every day when I’m here. i took Max, my mum’s great big soppy retriever dog with me. It was about 4 in the afternoon, it had been raining all day but the rain had now ceased and the sun was out. The woods were a bright almost luminous green. I have had very many seizures in these woods which gives them a strong haunted feeling.

When we get to the beach there are a couple photographing their daughter on the narrow stone bridge that crosses the river. Max is a young dog who tends to get over excited, I’m worried that he will knock the girl in the river as we pass, but he is very good and ignores them. Down on the beach I slide across slimy stones down to the sea. The sea is a grey blue creature slashing at the rocks to the chorus of seagulls. I turn to go back home but the photographer family are still on the bridge. I walk across to the river, crouch down and place my hands in the water. i want to get across the river without having to use the bridge. My fingers twist around the stones at the bottom of the clear water, only a few inches deep.

Take your shoes off, say the stones, roll up your trousers and wade across the river.

So I do. A little reluctant at first, I don’t know how sharpe the stones get, how deep the water becomes, or what malicious beasts might lurk at the bottom. But the water is cool and light on my feet and the stones slippery but smooth. The water doesn’t quite reach my knees and I’m across the river almost too quickly. Max is somewhat confused by my behaviour. I clamber on to a rock, sit and dry my feet. It makes me smile that such a simple thing can be so pleasing . I thank the stones for their good advice before returning back through the woods.